Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Where can I get a real Native American dreamcatcher that isn't fake?

I was searching our archives! I can not find all we had on fake Native made crafts/ art that are flooding the Internet and Shops across the country.

So I will Quote this......

Maybe it's our most common art-related question: "Where can I get a real Native American dreamcatcher that isn't fake?" Before we answer it, let us give you a little history.

Dreamcatchers are an authentic American Indian tradition, from the Ojibway (Chippewa) tribe. Ojibway people would tie sinew strands in a web around a small round or tear-shaped frame--in a somewhat similar pattern to how they tied webbing for their snowshoes--and hang this "dream-catcher" as a charm to protect sleeping children from nightmares. The legend is that the bad dreams will get caught in the web. Traditionally Native American dreamcatchers are small (only a few inches across) and made of bent wood and sinew string with a feather hanging from the netting, but wrapping the frame in leather is also pretty common, and today you'll often see them made with sturdier string meant to last longer. During the pan-Indian movement in the 60's and 70's, Ojibway dreamcatchers started to get popular in other Native American tribes, even those in disparate places like the Cherokee, Lakota, and Navajo. So dreamcatchers aren't traditional in most Indian cultures, per se, but they're sort of neo-traditional, like frybread. Today you see them hanging in lots of places other than a child's cradleboard or nursery, like the living room or your rearview mirror. Some Indians think dream-catchers are a sweet and loving little tradition, others consider them a symbol of native unity, and still others think of them as sort of the Indian equivalent of a tacky plastic Jesus hanging in your truck.

So where can you find one? In Indian territory, almost everywhere. People are making dreamcatchers in just about every Indian reservation in the US or Canada, and you can find them at any powwow or Indian event. But on the Internet, oddly enough: practically nowhere. Most of what you see when you search for "Native American dreamcatchers" was mass-produced in an Asian sweatshop somewhere or glued together by non-native teenagers with eBay accounts, and often bears only vague resemblance to the actual American Indian craft it is supposed to represent. If you are looking to buy an authentic dreamcatcher that was actually made by Native Americans--either because it's important to you to have the real thing or because you want to support native people with your purchase--then here is our list of American Indian craftspeople who supply dreamcatchers for sale online. If you have a website of native dreamcatchers to add to this list, let us know. We gladly advertise any individual native artist or native-owned art store here free of charge, provided that all dreamcatchers are made by tribally recognized American Indian, Inuit, or First Nations artists.
Thank you for your interest in Native American art!

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